Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

Just as Donald Trump was taking the oath of office Friday, about a dozen people with Syracuse Cultural Workers held large letters off the edge of the Spencer Street bridge over I-81 that spelled out the hashtag “Not our President.”    Most motorists seemed to honk in the affirmative, and gave a thumbs up.  A few gave angry honks accompanied by an extended middle finger.  Max from Oswego says they’re trying to reach the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

One of the governor’s signature economic development programs is being downsized in Cuomo’s new state budget. Start Up New York is being rebranded, as other economic development projects have suffered setbacks.

The Start Up New York program which offered ten years of freedom from income , business and other taxes to companies that want to begin a business on a college campus,  was initially a centerpiece of Governor Cuomo’s big plans for more jobs in upstate New York.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Two buses with very different groups of passengers are traveling overnight from Syracuse to Washington DC for Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump.  Both supporters and protesters want to make a statement.  Randy potter admits, even as the CNY for Trump director, he had occasional doubts about whether he’d be witnessing his candidate take the oath of office. 

"I did kind of have a feeling about this," Potter said.  "I had a good feeling.  The gleam was there, the hope was there."

Potter was on a bus of about 43 other supporters going to DC

The New York State Canal System, which includes the Erie Canalway, received the honorary designation Wednesday as a National Historic Landmark.  The distinction is expected to build upon its successes for the tourism industry in Upstate New York.   At the announcement in Syracuse, State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton explains how the more prominent status could also lead to new investments. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud delivered his winter message late Tuesday afternoon in an effort to prepare the SU community for the months and years ahead.  He devoted a portion of his remarks to the uncertainty surrounding immigration policies under what he called "the new national administration."  Syverud says back in mid-November, the university signed on in support of the deferred action for childhood arrivals program known as DACA.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank marked a milestone just in time for its annual meeting Tuesday.  The organization closed on its 400th sale last week to a city employee who’s promised to live there for five years.  Land Bank Executive Director Katelyn Wright says the home is on Oakley Drive in the Valley section…

"In this case, it's a young man,  and  it's going to be his first home," Wright said.  "He put in an offer through our Home Ownership Choice program.  His dad owns a construction business, so he'll have lots of help with the renovations that are needed."

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

Some state lawmakers are rejecting Governor Cuomo’s proposal to extend a tax on millionaires. Cuomo spent  Tuesday rolling out his spending plan to individual groups of lawmakers in private briefings, then at night, released details to the public.

The governor fulfilled the state’s constitutional deadline to release his budget to the public , but just barely, opting for an evening unveiling  of the $152 billion spending plan .

twitter @LWVNYS

Governor Cuomo has begun 2017 by breaking some long standing traditions, including, ditching the State of the State speech at the Capitol in favor of a statewide tour.  Karen DeWitt sat down to tape a podcast with long time League of Women Voters lobbyist Barbara Bartoletti, to discuss what’s lost, and whether civility needs to make a comeback.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner delivered her final state of the city address Thursday night…a message that was decidedly more reflective on the accomplishments of her past seven years in office.  She highlighted successes in city schools, with the Land Bank, and using new technology and data to tackle the city’s daunting infrastructure challenges.  Miner also touched on downtown and neighborhood development.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

Governor Cuomo brought his regional state of the state message to Syracuse Wednesday, where his localized proposals ranged from transportation to the creation of high tech jobs. 

The governor says 7,700 jobs have been created in Central New York since 2010.  And now, 260 more are coming as a military defense and civil security company looks to expand its presence in the eastern suburbs.

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